Portfolio Guidance for International Students

The following guidance is relevant to EU and International students who need to submit a digital portfolio at the point of application to the following courses:

  • BA (Hons) Graphic Design
  • BA (Hons) Illustration 
  • BA (Hons) Photography 
If you are a full-time UK-based home student applying to a course within the School of Visual Communication please see your specific portfolio guidance here


  1. Be relevant 
    Include relevant work related to the subject area. Know about the course you are applying for. You may like to view some of the student work on our website. Show ideas generation, experimentation and risk taking.
  2. Think about the basics 
    Show examples of paintings, drawings, photographs, three-dimensional work, time-based work and anything else relevant to the area of practice.
  3. Tell a story 
    Try to show one full project from start to finish with the preparatory drawings included. Annotations are helpful as they show how you research and reflect on the development of your work. 
  4. The Finished Article
    Include three to four final pieces that you are able to talk about. This might include photographs of physical models or images generated from digital 3D models
  5. The Sketchbook 
    Include extracts from sketchbooks to help us understand how you think (through your annotations) and allow us to see the development of your drawing. You may wish to photograph or scan some of the best pages from your sketchbook.



You can submit your portfolio via your applicant portal. Please follow the below guidelines for digital submissions.

  • Please submit your portfolio as one PDF file. 
  • The file that you send should be no bigger than 10MB (megabytes).
  • Audio compositions/moving image work are also acceptable formats. Please include a link to the file hosted somewhere online e.g. on YouTube. Ensure the links work and do not require a password to access the content.
  • Please ensure that all submitted materials are properly documented citing materials used, and where appropriate, explaining the processes used.
  • Please make sure that your name / email is on the file attachment.

Final word of advice

What is the first thing that we will see in your portfolio? This should grab our attention. What will be the mid-point highlight? What will you end with? Consider the flow of your portfolio - this will help keep viewers interested. Also, can you say your portfolio communicated with passion?


If you are an international student and would like support with your portfolio, please contact Matt Tromans to arrange support via email or video call.

Request support